King Charles’s Cancer Diagnosis Can Help Us Talk About Cancer — Here’s Why

February 7, 2024

The announcement that Britain's king has cancer can help raise awareness about this life-changing disease, from early detection to the importance of support throughout the cancer experience.


King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer, according to a statement released by Buckingham Palace on February 5. The statement did not specify the type of cancer but shared that Charles will be limiting public outings as he undergoes treatment. The king recently underwent a procedure related to his prostate. It is confirmed that he does not have prostate cancer, but the procedure helped lead to the diagnosis. With very few details, the public is left to speculate about what this may mean for the future of the monarchy. 

In the meantime, Britain’s prime minister reported that Charles will continue managing his constitutional duties.


Did You Know?

Many media reports note that King Charles III’s cancer was caught early. When cancer is found early, it may be more easily treated. Did you know that yearly preventive cancer screenings can help detect some types of cancer early, even before symptoms may appear? 

Read More: Are These Routine Cancer Screenings on Your Calendar? 


When a public figure shares news of their cancer diagnosis, the level of interest in cancer tends to rapidly increase. While it is easy to speculate about the what-ifs, the decision to share Charles’s diagnosis is a breakthrough. It shows a great deal of transparency and humanizes the king to the public. 

Hearing this news may hit close to home for individuals around the world who have faced a personal cancer diagnosis or that of a loved one. For others, the news may pique their curiosity, prompting them to research cancer types, possible treatments, preventive steps like routine screenings, and prognosis.   

Simply learning that a member of the British royal family has cancer is a reminder that cancer does not discriminate. The news may bring up different emotions depending on your personal experiences. As an example, the mixed response to Charles’s diagnosis brings to light the stigma behind a cancer diagnosis. Many people question whether the king can continue in his role. This mirrors in many ways how some people may feel after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Whether feeling stigmatized by employers, healthcare professionals, family members, or the public sphere, no one deserves cancer and no one should be judged because of their diagnosis or medical condition.


Get Tips to Cope With Stigma After a Cancer Diagnosis


How Can This News Help?

The announcement of the king’s cancer diagnosis has the potential to benefit the wider cancer community. One example? The interest this news creates may fuel cancer research and funding sources to support people impacted by cancer. 

Just one day prior to the announcement about Charles’s diagnosis, the British royal family’s X (previously Twitter) account shared a post for World Cancer Day reporting Queen Camilla’s attendance for the opening of a new cancer support center at London’s Royal Free Hospital. Moving forward, it is likely that we will see the British royal family share increasingly more information and resources related to cancer.

The British royal family has historically used their platform to amplify and support volunteer organizations, especially those supporting causes that have impacted them personally. For example, Prince William, his wife Kate, and Prince Harry spearheaded the Heads Together campaign. The campaign brings organizations together to change the stigma surrounding mental health. Through their work they have created charities and digital resources that have reached millions of affected individuals requiring additional mental health resources (The Royal Foundation).


Cancer Support Is Key

As devastating as a cancer diagnosis is, the British royal family’s decision to share the king’s news is another step forward in talking about cancer. The conversation surrounding cancer is reaching new audiences, expanding the possibilities on how we address this disease and how we support people who are facing it.

If you or a loved one has been impacted by cancer, reach out for support. There are many resources available to empower patients, survivors, and caregivers, from educational materials to local support groups. Here are some free resources that can help: 

  • Contact our Cancer Support Helpline toll-free at 888-793-9355 or online via our live chat service. Our experienced Helpline staff are here to offer free navigation for cancer patients or their loved ones. 
  • Join our caring and supportive community in person — find a location near you. We have 190 locations worldwide, with programs that include support groups, yoga classes, and educational workshops. 
  • Connect to your online community through MyLifeLine, our digital community for people impacted by cancer. Create a personal support network and join our discussion forum for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. 



About the Author
Katherine Labus received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, worked as a Registered Behavior Technician, and is currently pursuing nursing school at Carolinas College of Health Sciences in Charlotte, NC. Katherine has closely followed the British Royal Family throughout her life with a special interest in their healthcare-related philanthropies. She is inspired by her direct work with clients and hopes to bring psychology, social factors, and clinical healthcare together to foster comprehensive healing as she continues her career and education.